Category: text only!!! ABCDEFGH…and so on…


it's enough to make a Canadian throw up

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…just in case you’re interested…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this site.  It’s kind of interesting (if you want to know stuff about who is listening with you & where they’re from…Here’s a hint: 64 countries):

It’s all interactive & ‘graphics-y’!  Here’s an excerpt:

This blog got about 3,400 views in 2012.

Click here to see the complete report.

Great interview question: "What do you own?..."

Great interview question: “What do you own?…”

 

 

 
OK, this is more like it...stereotypically boring.  Got it...just as expected.  You don't even need to look at the third article.

OK, this is more like it…stereotypically boring. Got it…just as expected.                                                                                              You don’t even need to look at the third article.
Are you fucking kidding me?!  How can you use this headline?...and think I'm not going to tear you apart on my podcast?

“Paul McCartney Dead”!!???  Are you fucking kidding me?!  How can you use this headline?!                                                             …and think I’m not going to find a way to tear you apart on my podcast?

 

!!!!!Thanks for tuning in to this edition of, #GreatMomentsInJournalism!!???

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll have a new podcast show up pretty soon.  In the meantime:
…This is not music, comedy or revolution…but it’s real…and maybe it’ll help somebody…

 

(10.24.2012)

I’ve seen my Dad once since I was in 5th grade.  Somehow, his daughter (that I’ve never met) found me.  He’s been living in Arizona.

I just said goodbye to him…over the phone.  He couldn’t even respond.  He was so drugged-up, I don’t even know if he heard any of it, including me saying, “I love you, Dad”.  Apparently, it didn’t matter because at some point, the phone got cut off.  For the second try, they put me on speakerphone for some fucking reason (why do I have to say goodbye to my father in front of a roomful of strangers?).  I got interrupted at the end by his daughter saying, “They’re taking his breathing tube out now”.  That time, I might have actually forgotten to say, “I love you, Dad”.  By the way, this is all happening while I’m sitting in a diner called, of all things, My Father’s Place…

…Two hours later, I showed up for the first day at a new job. There was a car out front with Arizona plates, so it caught my eye. The plate # was 848-DAD…but other than that, I’m having a great day…

 

 

Make amends while you still can…

 

 

 

 

Q:  What if the US government ran on common sense?  What would that be like?

A:  Maybe like this?:

 

 

(adapted from a photo by Bryan Jones)

 

 

 

[This is a slightly edited version of an essay I wrote in 2010 while I was taking a ‘Geography of The Middle East’ course.  Unfortunately, it might actually be more timely now than it was two years ago…]

 

 

 

Should the United States allow Iran Access to Nuclear Technology?

-By: Samson Davis-

As usual, it is important to put this situation into historical context, so that all sides may begin the decision-making process with similar information.

 

PART I–HISTORY:

In 1945, the US completed the development of the first nuclear weapons.  On August 6th of that year, the US became the only country, to this day, that has ever used these weapons on another country.  The two bombs that were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed a total of 200,000 and injured another 83,000–many of these slowly dying from the prolonged results of radiation poisoning (11).  It was later revealed that the argument that ‘the bombings were necessary to end the war’ was false.  Actually, on January 20 of that year (almost six months prior to the bombings), “President Roosevelt received a 40-page memorandum from General Douglas MacArthur outlining five separate surrender overtures from high-level Japanese officials”; with terms that ended up being “virtually identical to the ones ultimately accepted by the Americans at the formal surrender ceremony on September 2” (11).  Leo Szilard, who had a major part in the development of the atomic bomb, had these words: “If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them” (11).

The US had hoped to keep a monopoly on nuclear weapons, but once that was proven impossible, the strategy moved to containing nukes to ‘friendly’ states (4).  In 1953, Iran’s democratically elected president Mohammad Mosaddeq was overthrown by a coup orchestrated by the US and England– replacing him with the ruthlessly oppressive, but ‘West-friendly’, Shah (7).  In fact, “Some critics accused the US not only of winking at widespread abuses of human rights by the Shah but also of contributing to them” (1-p584).  It was also under the Shah that Iran’s nuclear program began, with full support from the US (7).  This support continued until the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 by the Islamic revolution.

One year after the revolution, Iraq attacked Iran and began the eight-year war between the two countries.  The US backed Iraq, and in 1988, a US naval vessel shot down an Iranian passenger plane, killing all 290 people on board (1-p252).  By the end of the conflict with Iraq, Iran had suffered approximately 1,000,000 casualties (1-p562).

In the years from 1945 to 1998, the US detonated over 1000 nuclear weapons, more than half of the total that have ever been detonated in world history.  The actual numbers of detonated nuclear weapons, in that period, are: the US-1,032; the USSR/Russia-715; France-210; England-45; China-45; India-4; Pakistan-2 (13).  Since 1998, other countries have added themselves to the list of nuclear weapon states, such as North Korea and possibly Syria–while “Israel is universally believed to possess nuclear arms” (4).

 

 

PART II–IRAN IS ATTEMPTING TO BUILD NUCLEAR WEAPONS!?:

One of the underlying arguments against Iran having access to nukes is that they can’t be trusted with them.  Iran is portrayed as desiring these for offensive warfare.  What seems logical is to listen to those who have spent time talking with Iranian officials, not periodically refusing to speak with them at all; as several US officials have.  Hillary Mann Leveret, former National Security Council Director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs recently spoke of “Iran’s feeling of vulnerability as a state with no strategic buffer, weak conventional military forces, and 15 neighbors–none of which are allies, but several of which raise potential security concerns” (7).  It is additionally true that Iran has many nuclear neighbors.  As we have seen, Pakistan, Russia, India, China and probably Israel have ‘the bomb’; with Syria being a possibility as well.  Also, the US obviously has a huge presence in the region–with the French and English having a deep and sordid history in the Middle East.

 

 

IRAN:
The country between the 2 main countries the US has been bombing for the last 2 decades.

 

 

Greg Theilmann, from the Realistic Threat Assessments Project of the Arms Control Association, says this, “Tehran’s perceptions about the possibility of an attack are the biggest obstacle to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state” (7). Additionally, concerning the fear of Iranian nukes making it into the hands of Hizbollah (for possible use against Israel), is this excerpt: “It is difficult for Americans to appreciate fully how warnings against Iranian ‘meddling’ or ‘interference’ in the affairs of its neighbors sounds to an Iranian ear from the officials of a country which has forcibly entered two states contiguous to Iran, leaving nearly 200,000 soldiers deployed in the region…since President Bush designated Iran as a member of the ‘Axis of Evil’, US leaders…used military force to change the neighboring regimes in Baghdad and Kabul, identified the goal of ‘regime change’ in Iran, and appeared to collude in Israel’s attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor at al-Kilbar” (7).

 

The hypocrisy didn’t end there.  President Obama, leader of a country which is currently in possession of over five thousand nuclear bombs, has threatened to use military aggression against Iran for allegedly attempting to someday have one (4).  Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is universally believed to have nukes and is also the only one to not have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)(2-p128).  Still, Israel has apparently also determined that Iran can’t be trusted with nukes and has threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities (10).  This is a threat that Iran has surely taken seriously because during the Iran/Iraq War, Israel sided with Iran (due to its policy of “supporting enemies of Arab countries”) and conducted an air strike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor (1-p252).

 

While I am certainly not a supporter of nuclear weapons (or even nuclear fission for power), it seems Iran has a solid argument for the possession of a substantial defense–the idea being that the fear of a nuclear counter attack would keep anyone from attacking a nuclear-armed nation.  To deny this as a valid argument is to deny the ‘mutually assured destruction’ justification that the US used for the arms race with the USSR during the entirety of the Cold War.

 

 

PART III–IS IRAN ATTEMPTING TO BUILD NUCLEAR WEAPONS?:

 

In 1974, “Iran was one of the first states to formally call for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, joining with Egypt to propose the goal to the UN General Assembly” (4).

 

Iran has never claimed to be developing nukes or argued the reasoning for doing this.  In contrast, “the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeni, did just the opposite, describing nuclear weapons as anathema, a theological position later reinforced by a 2004 fatwah, which explicitly ruled that developing, deploying, and using such systems would be un-Islamic” (7).  Also in 2004, H.E. Reza Aghazadeh, the Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, made a formal statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Here are two excerpts:

 

“For more than a quarter of century, in spite of sanctions, discrimination, deprivation and 8-year imposed war, our great nation has been able to stand on her feet and to struggle for independence and sustainable development. Unjustified continuous sanctions on various items even with direct impact on humanitarian needs as well as the ones with peaceful application of nuclear energy left no other option than the national mobilization for self-sufficiency.  Our great nation will not (permit) any interference and or interruption in our purely peaceful and indigenous nuclear program…

…It is just too extreme an irony, that Israel’s nuclear weapons program is not only tolerated, but indeed assisted and aided and impunity is prescribed and applied to the fullest, while peaceful programs with no established evidence of diversion are scrutinized.  Such acute double-standard can not, must not and will not be sustained at the Agency” (8).

 

Meanwhile, from the biggest critic of Iran, comes this, “The US intelligence community is…sticking with its 2007 assessment that Iran halted the weaponization portion of its nuclear program in the fall of 2003” (6).

 

So, what has come of all these inspections we’ve heard about? Here is a direct copy of the conclusions of the IAEA inspections from the Arms Control Association website:

Iran: No known weapons or sufficient fissile material stockpiles to build weapons.  However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the institution charged with verifying that states are not illicitly building nuclear weapons, concluded in 2003 that Iran had undertaken covert nuclear activities to establish the capacity to indigenously produce fissile material.  The IAEA is continuing its investigation and monitoring of Tehran’s nuclear program. (4).

 

Here are some comments from an interview with career diplomat Yukiya Amano:

KURIER: Are Iran and its nuclear program a threat to global security?

AMANO: “I have never said that Iran is a threat or that it has an atom bomb.  I choose my words very carefully.  Iran is not complying fully with its obligations.  There are activities which could have a military context, and they must be clarified.”

KURIER: The IAEA promotes the expansion of nuclear power – is that in keeping with the times?

AMANO: “Every country and its people have the right to decide entirely for themselves about the civil application of atomic energy.  I respect that right fully.  But there are currently 60 countries with a major interest in using it…That being so, should we simply look on, or should we help them make nuclear power safe?  It is not our role to tell a country whether it should build nuclear power plants or not” (9).

 

In addition to those words, we have this insight into the degree that weapons development can be kept secret from inspectors:

“Enrichment at declared facilities…would be detected by International Atomic Energy Agency monitors, sending an unambiguous signal of weapons intent long before use of the weapon could be credibly threatened” (6).

 

The argument has also been made that Iran seeks more highly enriched uranium for medical reasons.  The Christian Science Monitor wondered why this was the case in late 2009 and here is what they found:

“Iran says it needs the fuel to power a small research reactor, originally supplied by the US, that produces medical isotopes. Western experts agree that this crucial reactor probably is nearing the time at which it needs more uranium…The Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), as the facility is called, is a 5-megawatt, light-water type reactor located in the Tehran suburbs.  The US provided it to the Shah of Iran under the ‘Atoms for Peace’ program.  It began operation in 1967 and was the foundation of Iran’s nascent nuclear program…As supplied by the US, the TRR actually ran on weapons-grade uranium of over 90 percent enrichment.  After the initial fuel load was used up, Iran contracted with Argentina to refurbish the core to burn lower-enriched fuel and to provide that fuel…In 1992 Argentina sold Iran the reactor’s current fuel supply, which is enriched to 19.75 percent.  Iran began to use this fuel the following year…The medical isotopes produced by the reactor are used in diagnosis and treatment of some illnesses…Iran does have its own nuclear enrichment facilities, of course.  These are of great concern to the West, which worries they could be used to produce uranium enriched enough to use in nuclear weapons…But at the moment, Iran only enriches uranium to a level of about 3 percent…If Iran ships about 1,200 kilograms (2,650 pounds) of its low-enriched uranium abroad, Russia could turn it into about 120 kilograms (265 pounds) of 19.75 percent enriched uranium for the TRR” (12).

 

Iran has expressed reservations about shipping its uranium out of Iran for this ‘fuel swap’, probably correctly assuming that it will not be returned.  The Iranian government has, however, still agreed to this idea as long as the swap is conducted within the borders of Iran, and is under the supervision of the IAEA (10).  In response, the US has expressed its desire to “get new sanctions imposed in the coming weeks over Iran’s nuclear enrichment work, after failing to reach a fuel-swap agreement with Tehran” and has threatened nuclear aggression against Iran that can only be avoided by its complete “compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” (10).  Iranian President Ahmadinejad replied with these two sentences: “American politicians are like cowboys. Whenever they have legal shortcomings, their hands go to their guns” (10).

 

 

PART IV–WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

 

We have been talking about a country that is possibly developing nuclear weapons because it feels threatened.  If the goal is to keep them from doing this, how can it possibly be a good idea to threaten them?  I cannot understand this line of ‘reasoning’.

 

Here are some ideas that the Arms Control Association has come up with to effectively diffuse Iran’s threat perceptions:

 

“The United States must:

Stop identifying ‘regime change’ in Iran as a foreign policy objective and explicitly reject the unilateral use of military force.

Seek agreements with Iran in areas of mutual interest such as Afghanistan, even before the nuclear issue is resolved” (7).

 

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has said there will be no attempt to resolve the occupation of Palestine until the Iranian nuclear situation is concluded (3).  Possibly, this stance could be used to present the option to Iran of being the regional hero by trading nukes for Palestine–with the US as the intermediary.  The pressure would then be on Israel to back up their words.  One could imagine it would be very appealing to Iran to be in the position of putting pressure on Israel.  Israel would benefit by hushing the worldwide roar over their seemingly endless human rights abuses and their world record for the most broken UN Security Council Resolutions (a total of 224 as of January 2009)(14).  It would not be surprising if it increased the daily level of security and safety for Israeli citizens as well.  This proposal could additionally be appealing to the US in that it gives an opportunity to save face internationally by taking a break from its unfathomable support for Israel’s genocide in the Occupied Territories, which in turn, takes away the major source of US-targeted hatred & terrorism in the region.  Everyone wins.

 

 

 

(1) Colbert Held, Middle East Patterns: Places, Peoples, and Politics (Paperback), Westview Press; 4th edition (July 15, 2005) ISBN-10: 0813341701; ISBN-13: 978-0813341705

(2) Dan Smith, The State of the Middle East: An Atlas of Conflict and Resolution (Paperback), University of California Press, 2nd ed., 2008 (ISBN- 0520257537)

(3) Charles Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents (Paperback), Bedford/St. Martin’s, Seventh Edition, 2009, ISBN: 0312535015

(4) The Arms Control Association, http://www.armscontrol.org/countryresources

(5) Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, ‘Preventative Military Action: The Worst Way to Deal With Iran’s Nuclear Program’, Published by the Arms Control Association, June 18, 2009; http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_PreventiveMilitaryAction.pdf

(6) Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, ‘Is There Time to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon?’, Published by the Arms Control Association; September 10, 2009; http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_PreventingIranianNuclearWeapon.pdf

(7) Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, ‘To Curtail the Iranian Nuclear Threat, Change Tehran’s Threat Perceptions’, Published by the Arms Control Association, Revised April 14, 2009; http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_IranianNuclearThreat.pdf

(8) H.E. Reza Aghazadeh, the Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, ‘Statement to the Forty-Eighth Regular Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency’, September 2004, http://www.iaea.org/About/Policy/GC/GC48/Statements/iran.pdf

(9) Konrad Kramar, ‘Iran Is a Special Case’, Kurier interview with Yukiya Amano, June 26, 2010, http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Transcripts/2010/kurier260610.html

(10) Parisa Hafezi, ‘Iran’s President attacks Obama on Nuclear “Threat”‘, Thompson Reuters, April 7, 2010; http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6362IJ20100407

(11) Mark Weber, ‘Was Hiroshima Necessary?’, From The Journal of Historical Review, May-June 1997 (Vol. 16, No. 3), pages 4-11.; http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html

(12) Peter Grier-Staff Writer, ‘Why Does Iran Need More Potent Uranium? Medical Care.’, Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2009; http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2009/1021/p02s23-usfp.html

(13) Isao Hashimoto, ‘1945-1998’, (a multimedia presentation concerning the use of nuclear weapons used around the world for all purposes); http://current.com/news/92537094_1945-1998-by-isao-hashimoto-nuclear-explosions-around-the-globe.htm

(14) Jeremy R. Hammond, ‘Israeli Violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions’, Foreign Policy Journal, January 27, 2010; http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/0/

 

 

 

Portland photographer Lauriel Arwen just posted some incredible images.

This was not the first time she had done this, but they show-off one of my favorite parts of Portland & they inspired me a bit.

 

“Goats in the City”–by Lauriel Arwen

 

Portland has people who rent goats to clear land.

Thistle, blackberries, ivy, “fire-hazardous underbrush”…whatever you want to get rid of , goats will eat it…trust me:

I once fed a goat a Dixie™ cup. 
(…Yes, the wax-coated kind…Yes, the goat wanted to eat it…No, I don’t know why…Yes, I was a kid when I did that…No, that doesn’t make it okay…)

As a side note, I’ve also seen a cow eat a lit cigarette at night by a castle (…didn’t do that one, but my friend did…and I watched it…and probably wondered the same things you are now…)…

 

…back to the Portland goats:

 

It’s an actual growing trend to use goats to clear urban land  (maybe you’ve heard of California, Idaho & Washington).  There was even an article in the ol’ Huff-Po about it.

Feel free to check out the full article [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/goats-get-work-clearing-land-portland_n_963943.html ], but here are some of the highlights:

 

Goats have shown they can get rid of invasive species that are “choking off native plants and growing into thick tangles impossible to navigate on foot” & “weedy patches between buildings, in lots long gone to impenetrable thicket, in half-built construction sites gone to seed in the Great Recession.

Goats eat all day…Goats are chemical-free. And goats will get the job done.

The project that might have taken human hands all summer will be completed by goats in less than a month

…it would have cost double or triple to have a landscaping crew do what the facility paid Stiner for her goats, and he didn’t have to turn to herbicidal chemicals he said he’d rather not use.

Sometimes it’s not a choice. In clearing operations close to a watershed, Stiner said she’ll get the call because chemicals can’t be used for fear they’ll enter the water supply.

The weeds invariably return, but in smaller numbers. And since goats like to eat seeds, too, the rate of returning weeds drops compared to machine clearing

Goats are used to control weeds and fire-hazardous underbrush in Oakland, Calif. At a Seattle-area vacant lot next to a city-owned bus depot, goats made short work of Scotch broom.

 

…a revolutionary idea?…or maybe just this:

It’s like an old-fashioned solution to an old fashioned problem.  It’s so obvious, but people don’t think of it.

 

 

 

All of this thinking of what I like about Portland (& looking at Lauriel’s other photos) brought me to what I like about Oregon.

 

“Cannon Beach”–by Lauriel Arwen

 

This great shot was taken at Cannon Beach (for those of you outside Oregon, this is where they filmed the ship coming out into the ocean at the end of ’80s kid flick, “Goonies).

 

 

The Oregon Coast is public land.  There are no private beaches…and this is not even what I consider the best spot (…it’s 5th, if you’re wondering…).

 

 

“May Day 2012”–by Lauriel Arwen

 

…and there’s lots of people who think like me, too…

 

 

 

It seems like this was a post made more for people who live outside of Portland.

Maybe it’s me trying to subconsciously get myself to focus on the positive.

Maybe it’s to get my damn friends from back home to visit me out here…(never!?…really?!…in 11 years!?…I’ve been back there 4 times–reciprocity, anyone?).  I’m not really hurt, I just want them to think I am so they’ll come out here someday…(ok, I am a little…[more than a little?])

 

Whatever the reason was for this, I hope you liked it.

…talk to you soon…

 

 

1) This first part consists of excerpts from an article you can find here:

http://rt.com/usa/news/mayor-quan-occupy-oakland-121/

 

Mayor Jean Quan wants OWS to disown Occupy Oakland

Published: 31 January, 2012, 05:13

Occupy Oakland demonstrators shield themselves during a confrontation with the police in Oakland (Reuters / Stephen Lam)

 

“…In the early days of Occupy Oakland, an Iraq War veteran was critically injured after being hit in the skull by a police-fired projectile. On Saturday’s march, law enforcement once again fired ammo into crowds of protesters and were videotaped swinging batons at protesters and journalists alike. As demonstrators declare their intentions with chants of “this is a peaceful protest,” Mayor Quan sees it from another side…”

“…Now the city leader is appealing to other Occupy movements across the country to disown Occupy Oakland in hopes of finally extinguishing the demonstrations that have scarred her administration due to overzealous arrests and the repeated firing of projectiles at peaceful protesters…”

“…Unfortunately for Mayor Quan, the national Occupy movement has by-and-large agreed (and insisted) several times that they are leaderless, so she might have a hard time trying to track them down…”

 

 

2) Here’s an early draft of a statement in response to Mayor Jean Quan.  [This is being created online as I’m writing this, collaboratively & in real-time, by the 99% nationwide]:

 

Dear Mayor Quan,

Your request for Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations to “disown” Occupy Oakland shows a failure to understand the nature of this movement and does a disservice to those you were elected to represent.

Among other things, occupying is about self-reliance, dialogue, skill sharing, and directly democratic decision-making. We organize within our communities to address the issues that affect them. The issues affecting the City of Oakland are not all unique, but, as in each of our cities, core problems of neglect, poverty, inequity, and voicelessness rob families of their wealth, individuals of their dignity, and communities of their togetherness. The unique circumstances of Oakland require customized solutions that your and other administrations have failed to provide. Your city’s people have risen up to take responsibility for their struggle, and it’s you who must answer to them, not the other way around.

Oakland wants change, and so do we.  The use of physical violence, rubber bullets, bean bags and chemical weapons against occupiers, including children, is a disgrace.

Your dispute is between your city and yourself, Mayor Quan. If you’d like our help in addressing some of the causes of Oakland’s burdens, we are here in solidarity. But until you join the struggle for justice, we recommend you do not expect our compliance.

Expect us,

Occupy

 

 

 

I’ve had a little lapse in posts–but for good reason…I’m on tour with my buddy pal for roughly 2.5 weeks (sounds not so rough when I use decimals, right?).  We’ve been to Salt Lake City, ‘Zion’, Phoenix, Flagstaff, ‘Sequoia’, and I’m at an internet cafe in San Luis Obispo writing this now after our best show yet…We’ve got a few more shows to play in Soquel, SF, and Arcata–Then, I’ll be back on the regular ‘show every 2 weeks or so schedule’ (with some random stuff in between).

Talk to you soon…